Concrete and Silk


I’ve lain on both
when I did not care the difference
numb, dispirited, saddle leather calloused
as though
I had journeyed many miles
with no smiling faces to greet
only to collapse
on a post-apocalyptic beach
staring at a sun
draped in the miasma
of hades.


Where does spring rest
during winter’s breath-stealing
occupation, where
are the seeds of hope stored?
I like to think they are
hunkered in prayerful hearts of
grandmothers, warmed by
midnight novenas, plucked and kept
close to blazing-hearth breasts
of doting souls


The twitch of needful things
the irony of silence
broken by a soft, “Hello”
is a page turning, eyes
cleansed of fog, rain blessing
fallowed, fissured ground.
And life stirs.


The bane of heartbreak
is compassion
the enemy of darkness
is a candle lit.

Reaching For the Stars: The Creator’s Approving Nod

As children, we sat around bonfires telling

ghost stories, our screams drifted

and lifted glowing embers

that much higher


we fashioned bows and arrows, climbed

oak trees to dizzying heights

scrapped our knees, felt the angst

of puppy-love…


a dizzying journey from there to here

stumbling countless leagues, scars and heartaches

are badges and sagas, I’m a bit worse for wear

a tad greyer for opening heavy doors and

bravely stepping across thresholds, no less a man for

steering through the raging oceans of tears

and correcting my course


off the six-lane highway onto the path

less trod, following the

still-small voice

so calming

like somber autumn’s

meditative verse.


I’ve looked back at myself in dream

in a mirror, I saw my youthful

inquisitive summer face

and behind me was;

the present me


looking up and smiling, reaching for the stars

wearing wisdom like a humble sage, glad

to see the Creator’s approving nod.

A Twist of Fate and Love is Born

~The story of Cupid and Psyche: A Constanza Poem


A plot with evil purpose grew,
o’er Psyche, from a jealous heart,
‘twas Cupid wounded by love’s dart.

And if Psyche had only knew,
could she have changed this scheme wound tight,
that wed her to the darkest fright?

Would crimson love have changed its hue?
to slip into soft silky dream,
and what would come of thwarted scheme?

If not for subterfuge and rue,
would such a story have its worth?
Would romance sorely suffer dearth?

We’d not know of these epic two,
of soulful ardor and its plight;
if not for fate and spirit’s might.

A plot with evil purpose grew,
and if Psyche had only knew,
would crimson love have changed its hue?
If not for subterfuge and rue,
we’d not know of these epic two.


©Michael J. Donnelly 2018


If You’re Not Living, Then You’re Slowly Dying

The, ’it’s just another day’ look in someone’s eyes
subconsciously makes me caress my scars, it even
irritates me a bit, hell, feral dogs have more drive
than some humans I’ve met.

Theory and daydreaming are separated by only a
thin veil between; focus and a step forward.

Social drones, luckless spirits with smiles saying,
“I did this, I’ve done that, I’m going to do it when,”
listen to the little devil on their shoulder
whispering, “Save it for tomorrow.”.

Sloths, climbing about in trees generally have
more ambition than some people, at least
they’ll risk death for a hook-up, for a quick,
‘wham bam, thank-you ma’am.’

Thirty-somethings living in their parent’s basement,
snowflake’s melting under neon lights at happy hour,
bitching, they can’t tell you when they had
their last job interview…

shake off downy fledgling fluff and fly, crawl or run
sink or swim, but just do something.

Scrapes and bruises are merit badges, emotional and
physical scars are; earned purple hearts and silver stars.

If you’re not challenging yourself, you’re not rising
above the hapless daily gloom, hell even dust bunnies
grow with enough momentum.

I heard an old man say once, “Quit your bitching, stop
your damn crying, if you’re not living, then you’re slowly dying.”

That saying still makes me smile as I challenge the day and
slap Satan silly like a pimp slaps a whore, sending him
staggering down the street
talking to himself.

© MJ Donnelly 2018

Continue reading “If You’re Not Living, Then You’re Slowly Dying”

Turtles and Humanity

Creatures with shells
make me ponder
my own vulnerabilities

I recall toddler trials, mother’s coddling,
griddle-hot Iowa summers, the sticky pavement
barefoot dares, whimpering
garden hose relief

every scar is a waypoint, every wrinkle
a latitude and longitude line, I’m
still exploring, still mapping

emotional upheavals and angry words
are the spewing magma that must be released
after subconscious quakes, tremors
sometimes linger
for days

I stumble on through life, sometimes
I crawl, sometimes I just sit awhile and watch
others pass by, yeah
I envy turtles
with their bone-hard shells
and stoic stares

as I rub my aching calloused
hands and feet
releasing the day’s woe
in sighs.

No More Chicken Curry

“Let’s try that Indian restaurant,”
I said, you made a funny face
simultaneously upturning
a corner of your mouth and
squinting an eye,

you gasped
after the first bite,
I asked the waiter
for ice, placed it
between my lips and cooled
yours, as you sighed,
“No more chicken curry.

The Veneer Of My Soul Pulses


There is a melodious tapping

as I close my eyes, like

a boat oar

loose in its rigger.

Undulating jade waves

lazily lull me as I touch the veil

of a dream, rhythmic breaths

transport me; I am adrift.


Distant car horns are seagulls

scent of exotic salt air

fills my lungs

I sense a tangerine glow

through my eyelids


perhaps I will write a message

place it in a bottle

and simply release it

with a sigh

as warm waters kiss

my fingertips.